Skeptic Magazine Says Denial Of Evolution Is Characteristic Of Orthodox Education

I dated a girl who graduated from Ramaz.

Now 40, bisexual, and never married, she loathed Orthodox Judaism. I asked her why. She said because it was aesthetically ugly, that Orthodox Jews smell bad (particularly on holy days when they are forbidden to bathe), that it breeds racism and insular thinking, and that it is rabidly anti-intellectual.

"Yeah, but aside from that?" I asked her.

I tried to show her how loving Orthodox Judaism could be but I failed.

I’m only flesh and blood.

Orthodox rabbi Gil Student posts on Facebook: "The worst part about traveling the subways in the hot NYC summer is being around immigrants who grew up in cultures that do not highly value the usage of deodorant."

A. responds: "That goes for a fair amount of "immigrants" from Boro Park."

On, Alexander Nussbaum writes:

Denial of evolution is a defining characteristic of education in Orthodox Judaism. But what does the most modern segment of Orthodox Judaism — the small number of students permitted to go to a public university and be exposed to non-censored scientific knowledge — believe about evolution and other scientific issues? The sample of 176 Orthodox Jewish students surveyed showed almost complete denial of evolution and other central tenets of modern science (such as the age of the universe); the survey also revealed that these students received their scientific beliefs not from their college science courses, but from rabbinical authorities, or from Orthodox Jewish scientists, who in turn propagate the anti-science views of rabbinical authorities. Perhaps the most surprising result of the survey was that the Orthodox Jewish students who were science majors were even less accepting of mainstream science than those who were not science majors.


Ultra-orthodox Jews have always forbidden members to get a secular education. Modern and Centrist Orthodox Jews are allowed a secular education only for reasons of parnasa, to make a living. In the last couple of decades two phenomena have interacted to shape Centrist Orthodoxy’s relationship with secular education. First the entire Orthodox spectrum has moved radically to the right. Modern Orthodoxy is in tremendous decline, the name itself becoming a term of disdain for those not “really religious,” i.e. “modern.” Centrist Orthodoxy is rapidly adapting Ultra-orthodox outlooks as the distinctions between them are fading. The entire community is being polarized over the issue of who is the most religious. The second development influencing the relationship between Orthodox groups is an increase in the need for college and advanced degrees in order to get a prestigious or high paying job. This has led to the creation of colleges and other educational institutions where courses are taught by Orthodox professors who shield the Bnei Torah (the sons or followers of Torah) in order for them to obtain degrees while avoiding forbidden practices and knowledge, such as sitting in the same room with members of the opposite sex, or taking courses in which sex or “heretical” philosophies are discussed. As we shall see, however, even those Orthodox Jewish students who attend public universities are insulated from evolution and other “heresies.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
This entry was posted in Education, Evolution, Modern Orthodox, Orthodoxy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.